Nairobi’s building boom has created an environmental catastrophe in Kenya’s semi arid eastern provinces.

You can’t make cement without sand, scooped out of seasonal riverbeds into trucks by an army of workers. Machakos and Makueni county residents who depend on the rivers for domestic water, irrigation and for watering their livestock, have been left with a ruined and parched landscape.

Rivers cannot sustain water after the sand has been carted away by unscrupulous businessmen with no regard for the environment or regulations.

Makueni and Machakos County governments do have laws prohibiting the practice. But Makueni’s governor says it’s like the “drug trade” where threats and corruption insures regulations are ignored.

Website by Appropriate. Photos by Samuel Waweru.